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From DOCX to PDF: What You Need to Know About How Text Renders

Posted on 08/19/2015

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docx to pdfWhen you design a template in Word and generate the report in Word, the original text looks pretty much the same. But when a Word template is rendered to PDF output, two key things happen:

  1.  Letters are spaced slightly further apart.
  2.  Lines of text are usually spaced slightly further apart.

This is at present an expected difference. (Someday our crack developers will figure out why this happens and we’ll reward them with an all-expenses-paid trip to the greatest event mankind has ever staged.)

What this means in practice is that a word in the header of a table that just barely fits in DOCX will break into two lines in PDF, and that a line of text may have a soft line break one word earlier.

To fix this,  you need to size the DOCX to look good as a PDF. For example, you might make a column in a table slightly wider.

As for the larger line spacing, this  means the last line on page 1 in a DOCX template may end up being the the first line on page 2 in a PDF output. Again, to fix this, you can slightly reduce the spacing between paragraphs. And if you need a page break somewhere, put in a hard page break.

Have more questions about how templates render in various output formats? Check out the article on Output Formats in our documentation wiki.


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Author: David Thielen

Dave, Windward's founder and CEO, is passionate about building superb software teams from scratch and dramatically improving the productivity of existing software teams. He's really proud that he once created a game so compelling (Enemy Nations) that a now-professional World of Warcraft player lost his job for playing it incessantly on company time. You can read more from Dave on his personal blog, and at Huffington Post.

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